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Egypt Court Sentences Al-Jazeera Journalists to 7 Years

On Monday, June 23, an Egyptian court sentenced three Al-Jazeera journalists to seven years in prison. The defendants, Australian Peter Greste, Canadian-Egyptian Mohammed Fahmy, and Egyptian Baher Mohammed, were all convicted of supporting and conspiring with what is considered a terrorist organization, or the Muslim Brotherhood.

The trio was also accused of fabricating and spreading false news and endangering national security. Mohammed, as the team’s producer, was sentenced to an extra three years in maximum security with charges of possession of ammunition – allegedly merely a spent shell.

The journalists were first arrested in December 2013, as part of efforts to halt supporters of the previous President Mohammed Morsi. Many activists and journalists around the world view the verdict of the trial as an injury to freedom of speech.

“To have detained them for 177 days is an outrage. To have sentenced them defies logic, sense, and any semblance of justice,” the managing director of Qatar-based Al-Jazeera English, Al Anstey told USA Today. He reiterated that “not a shred of evidence was found to support the extraordinary and false charges against them.”

Fourteen others arrested and tried were acquitted. Yet, three others, including a Dutch journalist and two British journalists, who were being tried in absentia, were also sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Anstey continued, telling CNN that “there is only one sensible outcome now – for the verdict to be overturned and justice to be recognized by Egypt. We must keep our voice loud to call for an end to their detention.”








Committee to Protect Journalists
Janet Loehrke, Anne Carey and Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY

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